6/3 "Genesis: In the Beginning" Genesis 1:24-31; ; 2:15-25; 3:1-13; Matthew 19:4-5

Title:  "Genesis: In the Beginning"

In a Nutshell:  “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? “  Matt. 19:4-5

The Texts:

Gen. 1:24-31

Gen. 2:15-25

Gen. 3:1-13

Matt. 19:4-5

Reflection Questions:

  1. What are you hearing?
  2. What are you thinking?
  3. What are you going to do this week?

Synergy summary page

Synergy Sheet JUNE First WEEK FR-BK

Books referred to:

  1. You Lost Me
  2. Parenting Beyond Your Capacity
  3. Resolution for Men
  4. Resolution for Women

Synergy Pinterest Collaborative Boards:

5/6 CARE Sheet "Who's In Charge" Numbers 11 & 12

Series Theme: May's Book of the Month and Sermon series: Numbers, “The Greatest Battles: Our Worst Losses, Our Biggest Victories.” The book of Numbers is filled with stories that take place between two censuses.  One census at the beginning of the 40 year wilderness wandering, and the other census at the end.  Some stories are of faith, faithfulness, and victory. Some are of faithlessness, fear and failure. All of them are about God's people making choices to either trust and obey, or doubt and run. Today, the faces have changed, the names are different, but the stories are basically the same!

Title: “Who’s In Charge?”

 Texts: Numbers 11 & 12; He. 13:7,17; 1 Tim 5:19-20; 1 Thess. 5:12-13; Titus 1:5

In a Nutshell: Individuals of faith, imperfect as they are, understand themselves to be called by God to be in charge of a greater cause than themselves, or even their followers. Their success as a leader is dependent exclusively upon their faith and obedience to God.  In contrast, the followers’ success depends upon their submission to the leaders AND  their leader’s submission to God.

Ice Breaker: Looking back over your life time, what characteristics or circumstances has caused you to respect the persons you find most easy to follow?

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT

  1. What initiated the challenges to Moses’ authority?   11:1,2-15; 12:1-3;
  2. How did Moses react to those Challenges? 11:10-15; 12:3-5
  3. How did God react to those challenging Moses’ authority? 11:1,16-34; 12:4-14
  4. What does the New Testament say about who is the human authority over the church? Heb. 13:7,17; 1 Thess. 5:12,13;
  5. From what sources do human leaders in the church find their authority? Titus 1:9 Acts 20:17,28
  6.  What wise actions by God secured greater influence over his people when single leaders are being challenged? Num. 11:16-17; Titus 1:5
  7.  How are God’s people to regard those called to lead in the church? Titus 2:15-3:2; 1 Tim. 5:17
  8.  How are Elders thought to be wrong to be treated? 1 Tim. 5:19,20

REFLECTING ON OUR LIVES

  1. To what various types of “delegated authority” must you submit?
  2. To what type of authority do you find it most difficult to submit?
  3. How has the “individualistic” mindset of today’s culture affected the concept of authority in the church?

REFLECTING ON THE WAY WE DO CHURCH

  1. What is the “chain of delegated authority” in this Church? At your work? In our Country?
  2. How does God view human’s that presume more authority than He gives them?  (see Num. 11:1,10;12:2,9-14;
  3. From where does the contemporary concept of a church “Pastor” come?

4/8 "The Mystery of Godliness" 1 Tim. 3:16, 14-15

In a Nutshell: Trying to create a "godly" (or good) population has gone on for Millennia. You start by figuring out what to do with those that are evil. Empires tend to imprison them, Tyrannies execute them, and Democracies try to educate them.  Jesus died for them!  For the first 4,000 years that was quite the mystery.  

  Ice Breaker: Think of the husband wife team that refused to give up during hard times... did the change come because one or both were forced to change against their, or because they wanted to? What's the difference?

Texts: 1 Timothy 3:16,14-15

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT

 1 Tim. 3:16,14-15 - 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.   -   14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.

In this text it is important to remember that up until the previous 30 years before Paul wrote this no one had conceived of a person's goodness coming from the life, death and resurrection of a son of a God. A god killed by men was anything but a victory!

  1.   How might the meaning of the first sentence change depending on where you put the emphasis, "great is the mystery?"  or "great is the godliness?" (which to that point had remained a mystery)
  2. If you were to give the "mystery of godliness" a name what would it be?  Hint: who was "manifested," "vindicated," "seen by angels," "proclaimed to outsiders," "believed in all cultures," "taken up?"
  3. Define the terms and describe Bible stories where these terms can be seen in Jesus' life/ministry.  (manifested in the flesh - Jn. 1:14; vindicated by the Spirit - Rom. 1:4; seen by angels - Lk. 22:43; proclaimed among the nations - Ac 8:5,6; believed in the world Col. 1:6; taken up in glory - Ac. 1:8) 
  4. What does Paul call "the church?" 1 Tim. 3:15
  5. Why did Paul write what he did in 1 Timothy chapter 3? (see vs. 14)
  6. How "ought one behave in the household of God?"  1 Tim. 3:1-13

REFLECTING ON OUR LIVES

  1.  What means have people utilized through the centuries in effort to cause people to be good, or "godly?"  (Think about historical events/people/stories, even Mom & Dad!)
  2. Do we typically think of 1 Tim. 3:1-13 as a standard of "behavior" for all Christians?  Why or why not?
  3. Why do you think the story and sacrifice of Jesus is so much more effective at establishing a standard of "behavior" than a set of rules?
  4. How should these principles effect your perspective as a parent?  As a spouse?  As a boss?  As an employee?  As a church leader?

REFLECTING ON THE WAY WE DO CHURCH

  1.   How can the church take this story of Jesus, which has not been a mystery for over 2,000 years, and recreate a sense of a newly revealed mystery which is "beyond debate a great new revelation"?

THE CHOICE IS YOURS...

Do you acknowledge Jesus' death as your atonement for sin and embrace His sacrifice as your motivation to live a godly life?  The way you live is your answer, not the way you talk...

4/1 "These Last Days" Sermon 1 of 4 "False Teachings" 1 Tim. 1:3-11

Key Texts: 1 Tim. 1:3-11; Jn. 12:9-16; 19:4-16

IN A NUTSHELL – Sensible people can get really worked up, and do very foolish things.  All they have to do is listen to elaborately worded, cleverly crafted statements without asking a few fundamental questions.  #1 What’s in it for them? #2 What do their sources say?  #3 Where will this lead us?

ICE BREAKER

Describe the best “April Fools” joke you ever heard?

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT

  1. Why did Paul leave Timothy in Ephesus?
  2. Who is the Law for according to 1 Tim. 1:8-10?
  3. What were they “not to teach” nor “devote themselves” to?  1 Tim. 1:3,4
  4. What is Paul’s aim or intention with “the charge” he is giving Timothy? 1 Tim. 1:5
  5. What are the characteristics of a false teacher?  1 Tim. 1: 6,7.
  6. What different events (time periods) does the Bible refer to as "last days"?  Is. 2:2; Ac. 2:17;  Mt. 24:1-29; Ja. 5:4; 2 Pe. 3:3; Mt. 24:30-51

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES

  1. What would vain myths, genealogies, speculations look like in this day and age?
  2. Who is a good sounding “false teacher” that has a significant following? How do you know he/she is a false teacher?
  3. Can you recall the last time you made a significant commitment to God?  How long has that resolve lasted?

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH

  1. What does Paul’s text in 1 Tim. 1:3-11 tell us as a church we should be doing to prevent people from being so gullible/fickle?
  2. Do you think your CARE group is more spiritually savvy than you were 8 months ago? What made the difference?
  3. For more digging into False Teachers & Teachings you might consider these websites:

 

NEXT WEEK "These Last Days” The Mystery of Godliness,1 Tim. 3:16 & 14-15 – Easter Sunday 

April Series in a Nutshell- No one has to ask if some of America’s culture in ins conflict with God.  But does that mean we are near the end?  Did the Mayan’s know something we don’t?  The Bible describes “The Last Days!” They are not to be met with fear but with hope, faith and obedience.  Victory is assured for the faithful and everything that is to happen will be right on schedule.  Nothing will catch God by surprise !

What is “godliness?” How could Paul have called it a mystery?

3/25 CARE Sheet - "Pass It On!" sermon 8 of 8; "A Business Woman in a Man's World," Lydia, Acts 16

Key Texts: Acts 16:11-15; Phil 4:14-19; Judges 4&5; IN A NUTSHELL – You’ve come a long way baby!”  Does Christianity enslave women?  Does the Bible liberate women, or imprison them?  Is a successful business woman a disgrace to the plan of God, or an opportunity to celebrate her gifts for His purpose? Let the Bible speak and Archie Bunker remain silent.

ICE BREAKER

Did your mother work outside the home?  How was that received by the culture with which you were surrounded?

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT

  1. Where, when, and why did Paul meet Lydia?  Acts 16:11-15
  2. What does Paul make special note to mention about his relationship with those early converts at Philippi? Phil. 4:14-19
  3. What did Deborah say would be unusual about Barak’s plan if carried out as submitted?  Judges 4:9
  4. How did God describe the culture of Israel when they were living in rebellion? Isa. 3:9,12
  5. How did Jesus treat women during His ministry?
  6. Would you say the “Proverbs 31 Woman” was a business woman, or a home maker? Defend your answer.
  7. How can mutual submission fit within the context of husbands and wives loving and respecting each other?  Eph. 5: 21-33
  8. Do you want to do a little extra digging?  What appears to link Lydia, Philippi, and Thyatira together?  Consider carefully a significant element mentioned in all three texts:   Acts 16:11-15Rev. 2:18-20, 24-26Phil 4:14-19;
  9. Coordinating Sermon Video

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES

  1. How can you tell when you are speaking down to a person?
  2. How can you tell when you are speaking up to a person?
  3. What have you done lately to honor the women in your life for the gifts God has given to them and they in turn have utilized to bless you?  What are those gifts?
  4. What unique gifts have God given you so you can serve your wife/husband/mother/daughters?

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH

  1. How can TLCC better teach husbands to love their wives as Jesus loves the church, and wives to respect their husbands as the church respects Jesus?

NEXT WEEK "These Last Days” sermon series introduction “False Teachings” 1 Tim. 1:3-11

April Series in a Nutshell- No one has to ask if some of America’s culture is in conflict with God.  But does that mean we are near the end?  Did the Mayan’s know something we don’t?  The Bible describes “The Last Days!” They are not to be met with fear but with hope, faith and obedience.  Victory is assured for the faithful and everything that is to happen will be right on schedule.  Nothing will catch God by surprise !

How does Paul characterize false teachings and false teachers in this text?

2/12 CARE Sheet - "Pass It On!" series 2 of 8; "Knowledge Gives Way to Conversion at Conviction" Acts 2 &10

Sermon Texts: Acts 2  & 10

IN A NUTSHELL - You can’t be converted to something you don’t understand or believe.   “People ‘receiving Jesus’ without any understanding of their history, or Jesus’ history, as well as a Biblical worldview isn’t enough.  A simple knowledge that you don’t like where you are right now spiritually is not the same thing as being “Converted”. 1. What do you know about Jesus?  2. What do you believe about history (your’s and His’)?  3. What do you understand about your spiritual condition?  You can never declare yourself “saved” when you’ve never really acknowledged yourself as being “lost!”

ICE BREAKER – Without naming names, or sounding  judgmental...have you ever known someone that became a Christian in the midst of a crisis but it didn’t result in a true long term conversion? Why do you think some conversions that tend to be based on crisis or emotion often do not last? (consider Luke 8:6,13)

 CONNECTING TO THE TEXT

Acts 2

  1. What descriptive terms are used to tell how the people felt who were listening to the apostles? 2:6,7
  2. How many native languages appear to have been spoken by the apostles?
  3. If we were to view Peter’s sermon as a type of legal brief outlining testimonies as evidences of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the son of God they had crucified,  what would be the specific sources or “exhibits” of eyewitness testimony? 15-21; 22-24; 25-29; 29;
  4. Can you describe in a couple of sentences a summary of what the audience heard that so significantly “cut them to the heart?”
  5. What did this evidence lead many in the audience to ask the apostles? Vs. 38
  6. What various commands did Peter give in response to their question? vs. 38
  7. And what was their response? vs. 38
  8. What seemed to be a natural response to this major change in conviction? Vss. 42-47

Acts 10

  1. Describe the character of Cornelius.  What was apparently the only things missing for him to become a “convert”? Acts 10:37-44
  2. What does Acts demonstrate every "Convert" (repentant believer) doing immediately after they acknowledge their decision to commit to Christ? Acts 2:38-39;  2:41;  8:12-13; 8:36-39;  9:17-18; 10:47-48; 16:14-15;  16:32-33;  18:8

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES

  1. Were there any significant “testimonies” or evidences of Jesus as a Savior of "Lost souls" presented to you by someone before you believed the Gospel?
  2. Were there any key Scriptures that Jesus’ used to reveal Himself to you?
  3. Were there any questions or dilemmas in your life that were clearly answered by Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection?
  4.  Why is it impossible to call a person “a convert” unless their knowledge is reinforced by a personal conviction of Jesus' authenticity and their own sinfulness?
  5. Three questions you need to answer before you can say you're lost AND then saved:1. What do you know about Jesus?  a. Can you defend your confidence in His resurrection? b. What do you believe about history (your’s and His’)? c. What do you understand about your spiritual condition?

 CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH

  1. When should the church encourage people to get baptized… on Sundays before the church or during the week when they make their decision?
  2. How much should a person know before they get baptized?

NEXT WEEK – 2/19 -  "Prayer Meetings at Home"  Acts 12:1-19 (vss.12-17)  John Mark’s home.  Do you think John Mark’s authorship of the first book of the New Testament was influenced by the fact that Jesus and the disciples spent a significant amount of time in his house praying and listening to them teach?

1/22 CARE Sheet - "Count on Me!" series 4 of 5; “Who Can You Count On?” Mark 9:30-41

Sermon Texts: Mark 9:30-41 IN A NUTSHELL - The world uses status and power to qualify people as important and successful. But Jesus does not use the same criteria in order to define those upon whom you can count. Our text is a string of events and statements made by Jesus showing us His criteria for determining whom we can depend.  Those who see themselves as a servant, those that are willing to suffer for Him, those that value the helpless, and those that value others they don’t know, but are known by Jesus.  You can count on these!

ICE BREAKER –When you were in high school or college, how did coaches, teachers and the class leaders determine who was “important?” How have those individual’s lives developed down through the years?

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT

  1. Keep in mind that this is the second time Jesus tells the 12 that he is going to suffer and die in Jerusalem.  Mk. 9:31; 8:31
  2. How might the previous events of the Transfiguration and the demon possessed boy affected the course of events of the argument over who was greatest?  Mk9:2-31
  3. If Mark 9:35 is the point of this text, then how does his illustration of the children make that point clear and emphatic?
  4. How did the world view children in that culture?
  5. If someone receives a child who ultimately are they receiving?
  6. How does Jesus say we should view someone that is doing a work for Him, but we don’t know nor with whom we are familiar? Mk 9:38-41

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES

  1. What characteristics or attitudes make you think that someone thinks too highly of themselves?
  2. How would you feel if in one hour you revealed to your friends that your Doctor had said you would soon die and later that day your friends were arguing outside your hospital room over who was most influential and which one you regarded as most important?
  3. How can a person’s attitude or reactions to children reveal hidden things about a person? (consider how God expects us to view the weak - How Does God (Should We) Regard Those that are Weak)
  4. How might a person’s attitude toward others demonstrating authority reveal character issues?

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH

  1. Based upon today’s text who might be regarded as more dependable, someone that can preach a persuasive sermon, or someone that will listen and help a child that is in trouble?
  2. Take note of someone in your CARE group and in our church that consistently seems willing to be last and send them a note saying thanks for being great!
  3. When is the last time you helped to stack the chairs after service, or stayed behind to help clean the kitchen after a pot-luck?
  4. Take into consideration how one might help the poor without giving them food, clothing or those things for which they ask.  The Poor Will Be Glad;   The Christian Standard on helping the poor.

NEXT WEEK – 1/29 “You Can Count on Me!”  14:27-42; 15:37-39; 16:1-8.  Peter James & John failed Jesus, Judas failed Jesus, the Roman government failed Jesus, but Jesus does not fail us! The Temple veil was torn, no one needed to worry about rolling away the stone.  Why do you think the Angel said “be sure to tell Peter?”

11/27 CARE Sheet – “Breaking Free” series 4 of 4; Galatians 6:1-10, “Two Natures”

IN A NUTSHELL –Our moments of bending toward doing good or doing evil can be  a split second away (they don’t need to be, but can be). The question for us today is, “How can we recognize it before it controls us, fortify ourselves spiritually for it so we don’t fall prey to it, and ultimately recover from it if we do fall? Or in other words, what is the (are some) key(s) to BREAKING FREE from your slavery to sin? ICE BREAKER –”No doubt one of the most widely seen and popular illustrations of this “battle between natures” is portrayed by a scene of Gollum in the Twin Towers of the Lord of the Rings movie series.  When is the last time you found yourself “talking to yourself”?

 

But this concept has been pondered for a long time and illustrated in many ways:

David Wilkerson – Two of Me

George Grey Barnard – The Struggle of the Two Natures in Man

 

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT

Read Galatians 5:16-17:

a. Notice that both the Spirit and the flesh have desires, and those desires oppose each other? This is reminiscent of Paul’s contrast in Romans 7:15 -23.  What results from this battle? Gal. 5:17 & Rom. 7:19,20

b. Why does the NIV use the terms “sinful nature” but the ESV “flesh”? (Click here)

c. Notice Paul in Romans 8:5-11 offers some great insight in the form of commands.  What should we do that will help us in this battle?

Read Galatians 6:1-10:

a. Why does Paul say you should “watch yourself” in Gal. 6:1 when you are helping those around you that are struggling with sin?

b. What do those who sow to the “flesh” reap?  What does that look like in real life 2011?

c. What do those who sow “to the Spirit” reap? What does that look like in real life 2011?

  1. How many of the following characteristics/attitudes can be detected in these Galatians and Romans texts?  boasting/humility, jealousy/generosity, deception/honest evaluation
  2. How did Nathan approach David to confront him of his sin with Bathsheba?  How did David react to the story?  To the confrontation? 2 Sam. 12:1-10
  3. Psalm 51 was written by David after his sin with Bathsheba as he was confronted by Nathan.  List all of the feelings/emotions you can sense in Psalm 51.
  4. Consider Peter’s quick change in spiritual directions – Matt. 16:13-23?  What did Jesus tell Peter was the cause of his fast switch from being “blessed” into being called “Satan”? (Vs. 23)

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES

  1. What have you done this past week that was “sowing to the spirit”?
  2. What have you done this past week, that looking at it now, may have been “sowing to the flesh”?
  3. What helps you see in yourself boasting/humility, jealousy/generosity, deception/honest evaluation in yourself?
  4. What helps you promote boasting/humility, jealousy/generosity, deception/honest evaluation in yourself?
  5. What will you do this week that will help you “sow to the Spirit”?

 

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH

  1. When has someone come along side you and tried to help you when you were “caught in a transgression”?  What was your reaction?
  2. Does Nathan’s method of confronting David seem deceptive? Was it inappropriate?
  3. How should someone in your CARE group approach you if they see you “caught in a transgression”?
  4. What safety measures should you use to “watch yourself” when you set out to help someone else caught in sin?

NEXT WEEK – "Brighter!"

Hebrews - As Christmas lights go up this year, we want to begin to think about those things that are most important about the Christmas season.  Jesus’ birth ushered in a whole new level of brightness to a very dark world.  The book of Hebrews is about people who were struggling with “Jesus fatigue.”  Honestly, faith in Jesus had made their lives more difficult.  Persecution, abandonment, and loneliness had set in.  They were beginning to recall the joy of festivals and traditions, that while spiritually empty, were at least familiar.  The message of Hebrews is to keep your eye on Jesus.  HE IS the brighter light!  Try to read the book of Hebrews before your next CARE group sitting quietly in view of some Christmas lights.

11/20 CARE Sheet – “Breaking Free” series 3 of 4; Galatians 5:13-15; 16-26 , “Freedom or Just Free?”

IN A NUTSHELL – It’s one thing to “be free”, but it’s quite a different concept to “have freedom”.   “Having freedom” keeps one’s eye on the outcomes and  the other on choices that lead to personal responsibility.   Jesus,  by His grace and through his sacrifice, frees us to “have freedom,” not just to spend our days chasing one whim after another.  As Paul said in Galatians 5:13  “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” ICE BREAKER – Do you recall when you were in high school any particular person that had the reputation of living an unrestrained (radically free) lifestyle?   What level of freedom do they enjoy now? For the Artsy folks among us… How does this statue by Zenos Frudakis illustrating a desire for freedom “strike you?”

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT

  • What is the “yoke of slavery” Paul is referring to? Vs.3
  • How should our “freedom in Christ” effect our relationships with others? Vs. 13-15
  • Through what does “faith work”? vs.6
  • How can we harmonize these verses?  1) Gal. 5:6; 2) Eph. 2:8-10; 3) Jam. 2:14; 4) Rom. 3:28
  • How might Rom. 6:1-4 help us understand Gal. 5:13-26?
  • Is Paul suggesting that one of those reading Galatians could be “severed” from Jesus Christ?  Gal. 3:4  What might that look like?
  • What does Paul mean by Gal. 5:13?

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES

  • If circumcision to the 1st century Christian was a symbol of orthodox commitment to the Jewish faith indicating an enslaving relationship to an ineffective religion, then what might a similar (enslaving) symbol for today’s Christian be? (While many from the faith only circle would suggest baptism as the answer to this question we must stop and ask if Paul ever warned anyone against baptism the way he did circumcision.)
  • What are some potential symbols or rituals of commitment to a legalistic religion that can sever your relationship from Jesus Christ?
  • What does it look like to be someone that is committed to a religion and yet “biting and devouring one another.”
  • What “fruit”/"works" as listed in Gal. 5:19-23 have you notice in your life?  “Fruit of the Spirit?” or “works of the flesh”?

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH

  • What “works of the flesh” do you frequently see in churches?  What should be done about that?
  • What elements of church programming/events promote in you the “fruits of the Spirit”?

NEXT WEEK – "Two Natures"

  • Galatians 6:1-13 Especially verses 7&8
  • To what two different natures might one sow?
  • What is the anticipated results if you sow to the different natures?

Saturate series 2 of 5 James, “your walk”

All of James:  Read the book and * verses that describe a belief, conviction or faith statement  and -> verses that describe an action.   Practice what you read and your life will never be the same!

IN A NUTSHELL – It’s one thing to tell those around you that you are a Christian and something totally different to have those around you recognize and make a topic of discussion that you are a Christian.  The Christians addressed in James had just undergone a new level of persecution and was learning a new reality of living with the spirit of Jesus Christ amidst suffering in a “dog eat dog” world. After the “great dispersion” the strength in numbers and built in accountability of being in the same circle of believing friends was gone. It had become easy to lose sight of what it meant to live out their faith in everyday life.  How relevant is that?!

ICE-BREAKER 

Have you ever read a letter that you thought was written to you and for just a moment you were shocked thinking something was being promised to you?  Or, imagine the implications of an assumption that James was not written to unbelievers.  Just pick a paragraph, read it , and discuss the implications of a non Christian not being able to embrace it’s truths.

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT   - Read James 2:14 - 26

  1. What summary concept seems to keep showing up in this section of Scripture? 2:14, 17, 20, 24, 26
  2. What types of illustrations does James use in order to describe his point? 2:15, 19, 21-23, 25
  3. Would you say James’ tone in 2:14-26is trying to:
    1. Communicate a complicated thought
    2. Convince a skeptical audience
    3. Introduce a new concept
  4. Looking at other statements of faith, convictions, or beliefs,  stated in James, how might “works” or required action complete the concept to become a promise or warning? 1:3; 1:28; 2:5; 3:2; 3:18; 4:4;  4:6; 4:12; 4:14; 5:4; 5:11; 5:16  Faith Statements in James

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES 

  1. Which of the following struggles seem most common among Christians?  for you?
    1. Wisdom in suffering
    2. Ineffective religious loyalties
    3. Social prejudice toward the rich and against poor
    4. Convictions that they don’t live out
    5. Trouble discerning between heavenly and earthly wisdom
    6. A tendency toward pride and shunning humility
    7. Realizing the shortness of life
    8. Materialism
    9. Trusting and relying on God in difficult times
    10. What commands or list of things you should do that can be found in James; are you comfortable with?  are you troubled by?
    11. What do you think would happen if an unbeliever tried to do the things commanded in James?  In other words, without faith in God as revealed through Jesus Christ can any of this work in an unbeliever’s life?

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH 

  1. What do you imagine would happen if everyone at Church lived 100% by the teachings in James?
  2. What would your CARE group be like if all of you lived by the teachings in James 100% of the time?
  3. How would our community view us if we lived 100% by the teachings of James?
  4. Consider viewing this promotional video used recently by the Methodist Churches.  What if "Church" in our minds happened on Monday through Saturday as well as on Sunday?

Saturate series 1 of 5 James 1:27, "pure religion"

IN A NUTSHELL – James is a book heavy on the “do factor” and light on the “why” or “how.”  Some have even suggested that it’s been adapted from a Jewish historical writing and then a later redactor entered the only two references to Jesus. If you want to know what a person should look like, act like, think like then James is a great study.  One could say that it describes what a person will be like if he is committed to “saturate” his life with the SPIRIT of Christ. You will notice that “what fills your heart will lead your life.”

ICE-BREAKER 

Describe the most selfless act/ministry you have ever personally witnessed by another human being.

 

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT

  1. What does James say is a “pure” religion? 1:18-27
  2. In contrast, what might be regarded as a "worthless" religion? Is. 58:1-11 Ro. 2:17-24
  3. Is James 1:27 a contradiction of Matthew 25:34-40
  4. If James 1:19 – 27 were grouped under one theme/topic/category of points how would you describe it?
  5. What are some interesting facts about the Epistle of St. James that might emphasize this month’s theme: “saturate- what fills your heart will lead your life”?
  6. How would you gather the principles taught in Matthew 5:2-12; Isaiah 1:16,17; 1 John 3:17-19 to James 1:27 into a good summary of what God expects from a Christian? The God of a Pure Religion
  7. What does it mean to keep oneself “unspotted” from the world? James 1:27; 1 John 2:15-17; Col. 3:1-3; Rom. 12:2

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES 

  1.  When someone describes a friend you don’t know as “a real religious person” what do you imagine they act like?
  2. What are some signs that you might be an immature Christian too caught up with a worldly faith?  (Check out these websites for some starters: A Carnal Christian; George Barna's description
  3. ‘How would you describe an “impure” religion?
  4. From your experience of helping people, why do you think the widows and orphans are identified in James as an indication of a person that is committed to a pure religion?
  5. How many of the "worthless" religion tendencies do you see in your life?
  6. Do you sense that you are “spotted” by the world?  What should you do?

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH 

  1.  How can this CARE group come in contact and help someone like a widow or orphan?  Helping the Poor...
  2. How might being "an active part of the church" help one remain unspotted from the world?   What does it mean to be "an active part of the church?"

8/14 - The Door of Obedience and the Key of Faith (a.k.a. Time to Step Out!) Luke 5:1-11

Outdoor Neighborhood Finale — Sunday, August 14 — Combined worship service at 9:30 a.m. followed by dinner on the grounds about 11:00 am (no Bible Fellowships  or  regular children’s programming on this day.  Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and side dishes for the pot-luck. Fried chicken and drinks provided by the church.) IN A NUTSHELL – The disciples had spent some significant time with Jesus but obviously they were still committed to their fishing business. In today’s text we see Jesus giving the disciples an opportunity to make the most profound change in their lives.  Jesus invites the disciples to enter into a world of unbelievable realities, fishing for eternal benefits! With the key of faith they were to “step up”, or “step out” through the door of obedience.

Luke 5:1-11

1. Why did the disciples think that putting down the nets into the sea was a useless venture?

2. Why did they decide to go ahead let the nets down?

3. Do you think the disciples felt like they were walking away from something significant or walking towards something more significant when they chose to follow Jesus?

4. What more significant thing(s) do you think God may be calling you to choose instead of life as you have come to expect it?

5. How have other individuals experienced their faith being challenged to “step up” or “step out” and what were their next steps?

a. Acts 2:38

b. Acts 1:7-8

c. Acts 8:36–40

d. Acts 8:20-23

e. Acts 22:16

f. Rom. 6:17

g. Heb. 11:8

6. Is it really Biblical to tie faith and obedience together? Acts 6:7; Rom. 1:5; 15:18-19;  16:25-27; 2 Cor. 10:4-6; 2 Thess. 1:8; Heb. 5:9; 11:8; 1 Peter 1:2,22

7. Over the past couple hundred years diverse Christian denominations have replaced the Biblical first step of obedience in Baptism with the “Sinners Prayer” because people could not agree on when and how to be baptized.

8. Acknowledging the confusion in people’s minds regarding the place of baptism take a look at how God has challenged people and they have “stepped up”, and “stepped out” in their faith.

9. What has God given you upon which you can initiate your faith?  And what call to obedience is He making on your life today?

The Conclusion of the Matter – Salvation is by grace through faith unto obedience.  At the point of responding to the Gospel before Jesus’ death He would say “follow me”, the apostles after Jesus’ death  would say “be baptized”,  and now the popular church tends to say, “pray this prayer.”  We side with the Apostles. If you are ready to take a step of faith and have not yet been immersed, that is your first step.  From there each step through the door of obedience will take you into a new world of eternal realities; forgiveness of sin, renewed joy, freedom from enslaving addictions, healed relationships, insatiable hope.

We are going to make available those new ESV Bibles that some of you personalized back in June.  If you picked up a Bible for $6 then you are helping to provide that same Bible for your Neighbor for FREE!

Also, the CCCB bookstore is going to have a table where you or our guests can purchase a ESV study Bible and some great summary resources from "Rose Publishing."  The following titles will be available at the bookstore table this Sunday:

  • Tough Questions about Christianity
  • Worldviews Comparisons
  • Jesus: fact and fiction
  • 50 Proofs for the Bible
  • 10 Questions and Answers on Angels
  • Bible Promises for Hope and Courage
  • Where to Find Favorite Bible Verses
  • Islam and Christianity
  • How We Got the Bible
70 people will be able to pick up any one of the above pamphlets for FREE!

Bible Fellowship Study Guide (BFSG) “Dealing with Temptation” Luke 4 (Mt. 4)

THIS SERMON IN THE CONTEXT OF THE SUMMER SERIES - Jesus' message is this: “You must believe all that I say about myself and trust me that I have answers to life’s questions. Trust me enough to act upon what I say!  I will affect the way you think and live as well as where you will end up in  this life and the hereafter.”  Satan is real but wants to operate “beneath your radar,” subtle, but profoundly effective. Jesus wants you to be aware of Satan’s schemes and committed to the fight with weapons that are not of this world. Bottom line their is a battle and Satan is bent on destroying you and God is bent on rescuing you.   To begin this spiritual journey called "salvation" you need to step out in faith AND obedience. That is the only reasonable response if you trust Jesus and believe what he says.  You need to die to yourself, that is what the cross is about.  And you must be born again – that is what the empty tomb is about.  Along life’s road you will have times of doubt – remind yourself constantly of Jesus’ words and seek often to be in his presence.  Every chance you get, run to tell others of the story of his amazing Grace.  Every time you rehearse that story to someone else you will learn more about it and will become more and captivated by His Grace. That is how one neighbor leads another neighbor to Christ! THIS SERMON IN A NUTSHELL - Jesus' temptation as recorded in Luke 4:1-15 is a case study of how Satan tempts us, how Jesus recognized and dealt with those temptations and how we should deal with temptation.

ICE BREAKER

When you first became a Christian, did life get easier, or more difficult?

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT

  1. Are Luke 4:1,2 and Matthew 6:13 contradictory?
  2. What are the three major themes of Satan’s temptations?
  3. How many times did Satan refer to the Bible in his attempts to “woo” Jesus to his line of thinking?
  4. How did Jesus answer Satan’s challenges?
  5. Good Scriptures to memorize to help us understand temptation and our opportunity to win the battle:Hebrews  4:15-16James  1:14-152 Corinthians 10:5

    1 Corinthians 10:13

    James 4:7-10

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES 

  1. What Scriptures do you rely on to help you deal with temptations? (Be sure to check out the topical index at the bottom of this page!)
  2. Does Satan tend to focus his temptations for you on one of these three categories?
  • Personal comfort
  • False promises
  • Quick fix (an attempt to manipulate God)…
  • Praying for people without an attempt to manipulate God to our will using his word.

    1) God, you know what we think needs to happen and why? Give us your best we'll give you the praise!

    2) God, you know everything. If you see our preferences aren't the best for THIS IND. and your will, then Give us your best, we'll give you the praise anyway!

    3) God, if what we have asked for isn't your will then give THIS IND. the courage, wisdom and grace to hold on for the even better plan that you have for her... Give us your best, we'll give you the praise!

  • Temptation is all about our desire to control things, Satan’s false promises to give us things, and our need to trust God rather than fear failure.

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH 

  1. How can meeting around the Lord’s Table each week help you deal with temptation?
  2. How can attending the Sunday Morning Bible Fellowships help?
  3. How can your commitment to a CARE group help?

Bible Fellowship Study Guide (BFSG) “Building for Good - as in Virtue" Luke 6 (Mt. 5-7)

The Sermon on the Plain (Mount)  Luke  6:12-49 (Mt. 5-7) IN A NUTSHELL – Everyone spends their entire life building something(s).  Some people build things that last,  some, things that don't last.  Some people build for good, some build things that are good for nothing.  This message is the tension between the way life is and the way we should choose to live it.  The rhythm of the world is to sin, selfishness, arrogance and destruction.  The melody of Jesus is purity, sacrifice, humility and building for good!  The Sermon on the Plain (Mount) says, "You have heard it said, but I say unto you..."

ICE BREAKER

Describe an “orientation class” you have attended.  What did you learn? How might the “Sermon on the Plain (Mount)” be like an orientation class?

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT

1. List the different groups that are listening to Jesus’ teaching. vss. 12 - 19

2. What did Jesus do just previous to preaching this sermon?  Vss. 12-16

3.  What is a key principle you get from these sections of Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain?

  • Heavenly Blessings - vss. 20-23
  • Earthly Woes - vss. 24-26
  • Enemies - vss. 27 -36
  • Judging vs. Discerning - vss. 37-45

3.  What are the core topics of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount?

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES 

4. Of Jesus’ teachings in his Sermon on the Plain which of them impress you in the following ways:

  • I like this one…
  • I struggle with this one…
  • I look forward to the fulfillment of this one…
  • Please pray for me about this one…

4. Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life transformation came from studying the Sermon on the Mount.  The book he wrote from that study was "The Cost of Discipleship."  A daily devotional based on that book is "I Want to Live These Days With You"

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH 

4. Can you recite T.L.C.C.’s three key purpose statements?

5. Speaking of orientations, have you attended TLCC’s  Introduction Classes (Core Values, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Gifts)?

Bible Fellowship Study Guide (BFSG) “A Solid Foundation" Luke 6:46 – 49

IN A NUTSHELL – Our world has understood the purpose and principles of a good foundation for thousands of years.  But for the same amount of time some people have ignored those principles and some have heeded them.  Jesus taught the principle and simply said, “Heed/practice my words for life -  and whatever you build will be there ‘for good’ (eternally).  Ignore them -  and watch your efforts hopelessly collapse before your eyes!”

ICE-BREAKER 

  1. How would you describe the difference between a foundational truth and a foundational habit?
  2. Can you imagine a new apartment complex with inadequate plans for the foundation?

 CONNECTING TO THE TEXT  Luke 6:46-49

  1. What is the first question with which Jesus begins this parable/illustration? Vs. 46
  2. What topics had Jesus just addressed previous to this concluding point regarding practicing and not just hearing? Luke 6:1-45
  3. Based on Jesus’ teachings in this text, would you say the solid foundation for a Christian comes from understanding truths,  or practicing truths?
  4. Who does Jesus say will enter the Kingdom?  Mt. 7:21-23
  5. What other stories or principles do Jesus and his disciples give us regarding "heeding," "listening" and "practicing" His words? Luke 19:27; John 15:2; James 1:22-27; 2:17-24; 2 Peter 1:5-9; 1 John 2:3-4

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES 

  1. If the above listed Scriptures provide "foundational" truths for Christ-like living that will endure into eternity then how would the illustration of the fallen apartment complex in China apply to things you have devoted yourself to outside of Christ-like living?
  2. Which is harder to learn the truth or obey the truth?  Can you give us a life illustration?
  3. Which is easier, to see someone else’s inconsistencies or to see our own? (Oh – that’s next week’s lesson!)
  4. How can you start the process of practicing Jesus’ teachings early in your family’s lives?  Check out this creative website concerning family activities and devotions!

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH 

  1. How does coming to church help you with this?
  2. How might joining a Bible Fellowship group on Sunday morning help you with this lesson?
  3. How might joining a CARE group help with this?                                                       

Bible Fellowship Study Guide (BFSG) “The Power of Truth Amidst the Ironies of Life” – Luke 4:24; 9:27; 12:37,44; 18:17,29; 21:3,32; 23:43

IN A NUTSHELL – Many times ironies provide food for deep discussions.  I had one of those the other day.  As a preacher, I was asked, “Would you rather preach a wedding or a funeral?”  Easy answer – “Most usually a funeral.”  The mouth falls open and a puzzled look emerges.  I can almost read their thoughts.  “How morbid!  Why would you rather be around death than the birth of a new family?”  It’s all in understanding the context.  When someone is dying spiritual games are minimized.  When someone is getting married trivia and extravagance are common and spiritual truths that can make or break a family are often only tolerated or ignored. This week’s Scripture texts are several places where Jesus throws out on an ironic perspective which challenges us to think deeper. ICE BREAKER

Describe the most profound “irony” you have ever heard.  Some humorous (some not best for the pulpit pictures of ironies)

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT  “What an irony…”

Take a look at some key places where Jesus said, “I tell you the truth.”

  1. Luke 4:24 - that a “home town” boy could be _____ for telling the truth.  An historical illustration of this that echoes eerie lessons for the current American economy can be seen in the European economist Ludwig von Mises
  2.  Luke 9:27 - that major transitions in God’s plan of redemption could take place right beneath people’s noses and they _____ get it.
  3. Luke 12:37,44 - that a slave known for diligence could be placed in _____ over all his master’s possessions.
  4. Luke 18:17 – that children are the _____ of how to receive the Kingdom of God.
  5. Luke 18:29 – that people that _____ everything behind will actually receive many times over in the Kingdom!
  6. Luke 21:3 – that a poor widow could _____ give more than the wealthiest giver.
  7. Luke 23:43 – that a convicted criminal could be _____ paradise.

THE OBVIOUS QUESTION IS “HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?” – THE NOT SO OBVIOUS TRUTH IS “BY GOD’S GRACE!” Ps. 33:20-21; 1 Cor 1:25; Zec 4:6

 

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES 

  1. What are some of the key ironies of your life?
  2. How has the truth of Scripture influenced you while you were struggling through hard times?
  3. Consider these Bible resources:  Daily promises  Bible Promises

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH 

  1. Describe a time when a church made a big difference in your life.
  2. In what way do you try to make a difference in people’s lives amidst the ministry of this church and the ironies in their lives?

Bible Fellowship Study Guide (BFSG) "The Purpose of Miracles" - Luke 4:31-44

IN A NUTSHELL - For the past four weeks we have looked at the Methods Jesus used to make disciples out of acquaintances.  He taught us to pray for the salvation of even the people we struggle to get along with, He spread a lot of seeds EVERYWHERE! He showed us through the good Samaritan that we need to listen to people's authentic needs and learn how to help them through our selfless love, and that hosting a dinner and sharing Jesus with them is simple yet effective. For the next eight weeks we are going to consider Jesus' Message.  Two sermons urging us to believe in Jesus, two messages from the sermon on the mount about "Building for Good", two sermons about dealing with Satan (our opponent), and three sermons on the "First Steps of Faith" for the young Christian.

THIS SERMON: Miracles were for establishing credibility for the messenger (His Identity as being sent by God) not necessarily focusing on the comfort for the listener, and definitely not entitlements for certain groups of people. The challenge is for people to look through their long held selfish assumptions to seek the truth, even if the truth hurts. We must come to believe in Jesus.  He died to demonstrate that he wants the best for us (period!).

Luke 4:16-44Matthew 12:39; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Acts 2:22; Hebrews 2:4; John 10:36-38

 

ICE BREAKER

What is the purpose of fireworks? Why not just have barbecue and ice cream on July 4th?

 

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT

  1. What was unique about Jesus’ teaching?
  2. Why would Jesus rebuke the demon from testifying about who Jesus was? Luke 4:33-36
  3. How did Luke summarize people’s response to Jesus miracles and teaching?  Luke 4:36-37
  4. Where did Jesus go early in the morning and why?
  5. How did this time of meditation affect Jesus’ plans for ministry? Lk. 4:43
  6. How are miracles related to our faith and to be tested? (See Mt. 24:24-25; Jn. 13:19; 1 Jn. 4:1-3)
  7. What is the difference between "a miracle," "God's providence," and "random acts of nature?"  (Consider some thoughts by David Lemmons)

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES 

  1. How does our world define "Miracle?"
  2. Reflecting on Jesus' time of meditation and change of plans, describe the last time you decided a good thing in your life had become out of balance.
  3. What were the indicators that you were out of balance? (Consider reading a good book on Sabbath to help you find a sense of balance.)
  4. What did you do to restore balance?  (Check out the "Wheel of Life.")

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH 

  1. Is it possible for exciting church activities to become unbalanced?
  2. Is it possible for a church to promote a "miracle" mindset over a discipleship conviction?  What does that look like?  Why are so many "20-Somethings" leaving church?
  3. Do you think Jesus embraced the philosophy “What you win them with, you win them to!”  Explain your answer.

Bible Fellowship Study Guide “Host a Dinner…for Friends!” - Luke 5:27-39 (Mt. 9:10-13; Mk. 2:15-17); Luke 19:1-10

IN A NUTSHELL:  When known sinners like Matthew and Zaccheus became committed to Jesus they couldn’t help but introduce their friends to Jesus.  Jesus couldn’t help but celebrate and share the good news with those friends. The disciples couldn’t help but wonder if this was real and the religious leaders couldn’t help but criticize all of them.  Today we are challenged to Introduce our friends to Jesus. Take them to His word! Then watch God do His best work! THIS SUNDAY’S SERMON: Much of this Sunday’s sermon (especially  the 10:30am hour) will be spent preparing our new Bibles for a friend to seek out Jesus’ and the Apostles’ answers to this question, “What must I do to be saved?”  While it is vital to understand that no one can do anything to earn their salvation, neither can one become a disciple and not respond to His will.

For a couple of discussions on “The Sinner’s Prayer” check out one Baptist’s perspective and one from a Christian Church Preacher.  Be sure to check out the history of the Sinner’s Prayer also.

 

Everyone will be challenged to write a brief personal note in the Bible describing one of two things:

  • One of the most important factors that led me to commit my life to Jesus Christ was…
  • Since having accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior my life has change by…

ICE BREAKER

Imagine that a famous person is coming to your house to dine tomorrow.  What would you do to get ready? (Some people get in a real tizz!)

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT

  1. Two stories (Matthew- Lk. 5 & Zacchaeus – Lk. 19), one background (despised tax collectors), common plan. (E.g.  Host a dinner for friends to introduce them to Jesus!)
  2. Who attended these meals?
  3. What common reaction did some of the outsiders have with Jesus eating in their homes?
  4. What concept or phrase seems to link these two passages?  Lk. 5:32 & 19:10
  5. How do the parables of the wedding guest not fasting and the new wine in old wine skins link to Matthew accepting Jesus’ call?

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES 

  1. Describe as many major life changes you have had that have been celebrated with a meal.  Who were invited? Why them?
  2. What is your reaction to Zacchaeus’ commitments and Jesus’ response?
  3. Were there any major “wrongs” that you felt the need to “right” when you became a Christian?
  4. What has been your experience participating in Sermon Based CARE groups?
  5. What does it feel like to be lost? Out_of_Their_Faces_and_Into_Their_Shoes
  6. If you haven't already write out your personal testimony. Check this out for some pointers.

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH 

  1. What was your initial reaction to the thought of writing the plan of salvation in the Bibles during services?
  2. What was your initial reaction to the thought of leading/hosting a block party in your neighborhood?
  3. Check out these resources for "out there ideas" setting up a block party:

Bible Fellowship Study Guide 6/19 “Listen, Learn, Love - The Good Samaritan" Luke 10:25-37

IN A NUTSHELL:   The problem we busy Christians often suffer from is that we fail to really listen to those suffering from being lost.  Therefore we don’t learn their language, see their needs, nor understand how we can and should help. Ultimately, we end up doing things we’ve convinced ourselves God wants and ignore those things He has shown us is MOST important! ICE BREAKER

Have you ever helped a stranger in distress?  What happened?

CONNECTING TO THE TEXT   Luke 10:25-37

  1. Who is testing whom in this story?  Does the lawyer think he has passed the test in vs. 28?
  2. Why do you think Jesus answered a question with a story rather than a straight answer?
  3. How might a Levite and priest justify their reactions?  (Lev. 21:1-3; Nu. 19:11-22)
  4. Given the divisions between Jews and Samaritans (see Jn. 4), what is unusual about the plot twist in this story?  What is Jesus’ point?

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES 

  1. Who have been good Samaritans in your life?
  2. Of the neighbors you have met this spring, who could use the most help and how will you offer it?

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH 

  1. How might your neighbors be best helped by our church?
  2. This week do one of the following:  Find out from the office how many neighborhood block parties are being planned and either;  agree to become a prayer warrior for that neighborhood, help host or support one of those block parties, or establish your own block party.
  3. Some other interesting resources:
                  a. Compassionate Outreach Resources  
                  b. A book our Benevolence Ministry Team uses: When Helping Hurts

Bible Fellowship Study Guide 6/12 “Sowing the Seeds…Everywhere!” - Luke 8:4-15

In a nutshell: We should be generous in passing out snippets of hope, kindness, and truth a.k.a. “ Gospel seeds.”  We are not challenged in this text to constantly hammer the lost with convictions they don’t understand or care about.  The parable of the Sower illustrates his generosity in sowing ”Gospel seeds” everywhere rather than an analytical process of discerning diverse types of soils and withholding seeds from those soils deemed unproductive. SERMON OUTLINE

1. Generosity - Lk. 8:4-18

2. Balance between mercy (Lk. 9:51-56) & urgency (Lk. 10:1-12)

3. Prayerful trust – Lk. 10:2-3

 

RESOURCES

The Unexpected Journey by Thom S. Rainer

Blah, Blah, Blah by Bayard Taylor

see also www.blahblahbook.com

 ICE BREAKER

A. What kind of luck do you have growing things?  Are you a “green thumb” or a “brown thumb”?

B. Describe (to remain nameless) a negative Christian attempting evangelism.  In contrast, describe a positive Christian known for being liked, listened to, and especially followed by skeptics to becoming believers.

 CONNECTING TO THE TEXT

  1. As typical with principles for interpreting parables,  Who is the audience to whom Jesus is telling the parable of the Sower? (Lk. 8:4)
  2. What are the four types of soils?
  3. What types of “listeners” people/circumstances do they represent? Lk. 8:5-8;  11-15
  4. Did Jesus give any indication as to the condition of the soil being the “Sowers’” responsibility?
  5. Looking at the context of stories Luke shares surrounding this parable which of the below statements might best describe the problem the parable of the sower is addressing?
    1. Contexts:

i.      Lk. 8:1-3, different types of people following Jesus as he taught throughout cities and villages

ii.      Lk. 8:16-18, a lamp shines indiscriminately into the darkness making known things that used to be in the darkness. Only those who really pay attention will ultimately be blessed with more revelation.

iii.      Lk. 8:19-21, mother and brothers come to Jesus, but Jesus claims to be closest to those who hear and obey the word of God.

  1. The Problem?

i.      If Jesus had better analyzed his audience and better targeted his message more people would have been won to God…

ii.      Some people can’t help it - they are just destined not to “get the gospel...”

iii.      It’s not for us to discern who will and who won’t “get the gospel” we share.  Share it freely and know that ultimately those that listen and obey will “get it” and produce a bountiful harvest.

REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES 

  1. What kind of “Gospel seeds” have you cast in the lives of people you perceived to be spiritually like “packed soil”?
  2. How might the kinds of “Gospel seeds” you sow be different for those people represented by the different soils?
    1. Packed soil
    2. Shallow rocky soil
    3. Weedy soil
    4. Good soil

CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH 

  1. What kind of social events, church activities, personal acts of kindness might individuals represented by the four soils be interested in:
    1. Soils: packed soil, shallow rocky soil, weedy soil, good soil
    2. Activities: Talent night fund raiser dessert auction, Christmas musical, CARE group, Bible Fellowship group, Patriotic worship service, Blended Worship Service, Modern Worship Service, kind word, free lunch card, etc..
    3. Check this out! Harvester Christian Church Summer Day Camp